tv News Nation MSNBC December 14, 2012 11:00am-12:00pm PST
portion of the school. our main objective to evacuate as quickly and efficiently as possible any and all students and faculty in the school. the entire school was searched. that was accomplished, a staging area was set up. students and staff are put in to the staging area. and soon thereafter the children and staff reunited with staff and loved one. there were several fatalities at the scene, students and staff. there's no information relative to that. there's being released at this time. until we made a complete and proper notification. the shooter is deceased inside the building. there's a great deal of work that is undertaken immediately upon locating the shooter and there's a great deal of search warrant activity, a great deal of law enforcement activity both in and out of state to ensure we cover all the bases relative to that specific individual. suffice it to say the scene is secure. state police major crime squads,
danbury state's attorney and many agencies are working together to answer all of the questions surrounding exactly what happened. >> that's, again, the very latest of state police there in connecticut. pete williams, our justice correspondent, also reporting that a second suspect is in custody. we are told a suspect is being questioned with the shooting. we don't know his relationship is to all of this. amanda ross is with wvit, nbc affiliate in that area. she is standing by with the very latest. what can you tell us? >> pretty much what you heard there. we do have reports of now confirmed several students and staff were killed inside that school. the shooter also found dead inside that school. as you heard from connecticut state police lieutenant paul vance, they're now going through the process of dealing with searching that school, issuing a
search warrant and going to collect evidence there. what we are told right now is that the governor of connecticut, governor dannel malloy is meeting with families and not releasing the information that we need right now is because the governor wants to make sure that the families get that information first. and of course, as we've heard, we have sources that say that we have dozens killed. so they're probably dozens of families that the governor is meeting with right now. >> amanda, what can you tell us if anything about the relationship between the shooter and that school? was he a father of a student there? did he have some sort of connection to a staffer there? do we know anything about this 20-year-old shooter? >> all that we know right now is that there is a possible connection. we don't know if, like you said, that person had a child in the school. we actually even don't know how the person was able to get in to the school because here in
connecticut what typically happens is a lot of the doors are locked. if they're maybe not the main entrance one to go in and go to the main office but a lot of the times the school's doorways around the building are locked so there's still questions about how he was able to get in to the building. >> describe the scene for me right now around you. a short time ago, we continued to see the images of parents arriving to pick up their children. we have seen understandably lots of hugs, lots of parents pulling their children in very, very tight. what's happening right now? >> well, i think it's a still thing. there's very much a sense of shock in this community. we hear this over and over again but many people saying how could it happen here? how could it happen in the small community? i'm sure no matter where you go, when there's a mass shooting, people say the same thing. it's very, very emotional here. not even just the parents
emotional. we saw them coming to pick up the students, hugging them tight and starting to cry because of all of this happening here. we also know that the first responders were breaking down. we saw firefighters who were tearing up and now we actually might understand why. when we see, you know, the large complexity of this and how many people were affected here. >> amanda, do stand by for me. we have got some sound from folks who are at the scene at sandy hook elementary school around 9:30 this morning. let's take a listen. >> i was in the gym and i heard a loud -- well, i heard like seven loud booms and then the gym teachers told us to go in the corner so we all huddled and i kept hearing these booming noises. and the -- we all started -- well, we didn't scream, we started crying so all of the gym teachers told us to go in to the
office where no one could find us so then police officer came in and told us to run outside so we did and we came in the fire house and waited for our parents. >> that little girl's chilling account of what went down inside that school. amanda, i imagine you've heard lots of similar stories on the ground there. are all of the children accounted for? >> what they did was they said that they went in room by room and available to evacuate the students and take -- evacuate the building room by room and bring the students to their parents. as the little girl described, we are talking to other little girl that is said that they were escorted out of the hallways and when their teacher was like lining them up to bring them out, they were told to cover their eyes so that they wouldn't see what was going on there. they also -- and this is a little disturbing, heard screams
over the loud speaker before the loud speaker was turned off so you can imagine the painic of those elementary school students. >> folks, you are looking at -- you are looking at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. we are told that scene is secure at this point. the public is not in any danger but there are lots of families in that community who will be scarred forever. 26 dead. 18 children. eight adults. this is the second worst shooting -- second worst school history in the history of this country. amanda ross is our reporter with wvit on the ground there covering the story from the beginning. amanda, tell me about the fire station nearby and the role that it played in all of this. >> well, the fire station when we first got on the scene and more of like the triage station and where everything was set up and now told by the other reporters with us over there is that that is most likely where
the families are stationed. we heard that the governor went in to the building and the fire station and hasn't come out yet. we think that's where he's meeting with the families, briefing them, he's telling them what's going on. he wouldn't even actually come out and talk to the media because he was so focused on getting the families that information first so i think that's what the fire house has to play in that -- in this story here. >> again, for folk who is are just joining us, we heard for the first time from state police about 15 minutes ago. their news conference very brief because as amanda just indicated there, the priority right now for officials on the ground is to notify all of the families who have students in that school to make sure all of the families receive the information first. but again, a short time ago we did hear just a few details and basically 9:30 this morning, police got that 911 call on duty troopers, off duty troopers, all responded. they entered the school. they started an active shooter
search of the building. the main objective at that point was to evacuate as quickly as possible any and all of the students, all of the faculty, as well. how large is that school? >> how large is the school? >> yeah. how many students. >> is that what you said? >> yeah. >> i'm not exactly sure on how many students are in that school but it is a neighborhood school so right around it is -- it's sich rate etuated in a very res area. when they didn't know what the situation with the shooter was, they had police stationed all around the school. so people didn't -- >> i think we may have just -- we just lost amanda ross there. nbc affiliate in that area giving us the very latest, very latest what's happening on the
ground there. christin welker standing by at the white house now. we heard from jay carney a short time ago. white house spokesman indicating that today was not the day to start the conversation about gun control and perhaps tightening gun control laws in this country. any indication at this point, any indication about when and if we might hear from president obama? >> white house press secretary jay carney saying it's likely to hear from president obama later on today. as you know, craig, it is customary when we see a tragedy such as the one unfolding right now in connecticut happen, president obama will often come out an give his reaction, express his sympathy so that's something that white house press secretary carney saying is likely today. president obama was informed about the shooting at 10:30 this morning by the national security adviser john brennan. he has been updated on this situation throughout the day. the white house at this point in
time not revealing the president's reaction. they say it's too soon. they say the president is still getting information. so they're really going to wait until they have a little bit more information before he comes out and talks. i was sitting in the briefing a short while ago with carney and he was questions about whether or not this tragedy would reignite efforts on the part of the president to enact stiffer gun control laws. carney saying today is the day to really focus on the victims. i can also tell you that he said that the president is watching these horrific events unfold as a father, as much as the president. he made phone calls to fbi director mueller and the governor of connecticut and he continues to be updated on the horrific event that is run folding throughout the state of connecticut. craig? >> christin welker, thank you. we can expect to hear from president obama at some point on
this friday afternoon. i think we have amanda ross back. wvit on the ground there in newtown, connecticut. amanda, we were just talking about the process by which authorities were able to get the children out of the school this morning. what more can you tell us? >> well, what they did was when the police were called in, they wept room to room and they took the children and then led the children out of the school. they then walked them out and we did already have quickly parents wait waiting for the children. they lined up as we were saying earlier, there's a little girl who said that she lined up and actually had to cover her eyes so she wouldn't see anything on her way out of the school and then of course parents waiting for them outside. >> my understanding, amanda, also is there were a number of neighbors living close to the school and took in some of the children, as well. is that true? >> you know, that's the first that we are hearing of it. a lot of neighbors we spoke to had siblings in the school so
they went over to get their siblings but i don't know if they actually went to the neighbor's house. it could have happened in the front of the school but what police were really watching for is they didn't want anyone even in the area. i was in the back of the school for a while and what they did was people were even coming out of their doors. they would push them back in. they didn't want anyone out in the open, you know, just in case when they didn't know that that shooter was dead inside the school. >> we don't know a great deal at this point about the shooter. we do know that he was 20 years old. he was wearing all black. our justice correspondent pete williams standing by on top of the story from the beginning. can you tell us anymore at this point about the shooter? >> well, what i can tell you, craig, law enforcement officials tell us as they have been looking in to the past of this young man who did the shooting, they've been serving swashts at addresses he's connected with and have discovered within the last couple of hours here that
one of his parents was fatally shot at the parent's home in new jersey. i don't know whether it was the mother or father. i don't know where in new jersey this was. but that one of the young man's parents was fatally shot, presumably this morning before the school shooting and the body of that adult was found at the adult's home, at the parent's home in new jersey. now, craig, one other thing here. there's been a question about whether just one person was involved in the shooting or whether there could have been potentially two. there was a second person in custody being questioned who was seen at the school around the time of the shooting but it appear that is that is not going to be the case, that this person was there coincidentally and not involved in the shooting so that second shooting -- the second adult prospect seems to be fading. >> pete, at this point, based on your understanding and the folks
you are talking to, this gunman acted alone? >> it may be a little too soon to say that definitively but things are pointing in that direction, yes. >> this morning, parent of the gunman killed, found dead inside their home in new jersey. and then hours later the gunman thought to be the gunman involved here. correct? >> yes, exactly. >> we have heard reports that he was wearing all black, heard reports perhaps he was wearing a bullet-proof vest. can you tell us more about that s ? >> yes to all black. i don't know about the vest. >> what about the weapons found at the scene? >> as far as we know, he had two handguns. two .9 millimeter guns. one made by glock, one made by sig sauer. we have seen a report of a rifle but none of the law enforcement officials i've talked to heard about a rifle. only the two handguns.
these are two of the most commonly available handguns in america. the pistol semiautomatic and fires a round every time the trigger is pulled. they're ubiquitous in america. nothing extraordinary about the weapons. we are waiting to hear whether the gunman had high capacity ammunition clips which would allow firing a number of shots at once. the only other thing to say, craig, it appears from the initial investigative reports that the gunman focused most if not all of the attention on a single classroom. firing in to a single classroom and that may be where the majority of the victims were. >> pete, at this point, what can you tell us about the relationship between the shooter and that school? >> i don't know what it is. none of the officials i have talked to is aware of any. don't know why that particular school was chosen. it's just not clear.
>> but -- and the search warrants that are being according to state police, search warrant issued in and outside of connecticut. what can we make of that? >> well, the fact that his parents lived in new jersey, he may have been living with his parents. we don't know. he was 20 years old. >> okay. >> but we had been told almost from the beginning that there was a new jersey connection here. >> and again, that second person that was in custody, that the point, just appears as if that was a coincidence. he was just at the school at the same time? >> that's what it appears to be right now. >> justice correspondent pete williams giving us the latest, thank you so much. do come back if and when you get some new information. pete williams, reporting that at this point it appears as if the gunman who was found dead inside sandy hook elementary school, that gunman, one of his parents, at this point we don't know his mother or father, one of the parents found dead at their home in new jersey. just hours before two weapons
found. one of them a .9 millimeter pistol and law enforcement trying to figure out whether high -- what type of ammunition was used. also, according to pete there a few moments ago, it appears as if right now the shooter focused his attention on one single classroom. i'd like to bring back amanda ross, our reporter on the ground there, reporter with wvit. >> i can hear you. just fyi. roy just showed back up. >> oh, okay. i think we just lost amanda there. when we get her back, we'll go back to her and recap. according to pete williams, just a short time ago, we are gradually starting to learn more about the shooter. 20 years ago. all black. one point we had heard there's a second person in custody. that second person thought at one point to have a connection to all of this. pete just telling us a short time ago, law enforcement
officials no longer believe that that second person was in any way connected to this. at this point, according to law enforcement, it appears that gunman acted alone. christin welker, standing by with the very latest from the white house. >> reporter: well, craig, we expect president obama according to officials to speak this afternoon and address the tragedy. he was first alerted at 10:30 this morning by john brennan. he has been updated regularly about the development that is are unfolding right now in connecticut. i'm also told that he spoke with fbi director mueller. he also called the governor of connecticut malloy to extend condolences and offer sympathy and any help that the federal government might be able to provide at this point in time. white house press secretary carney they would daily briefing today and asked about this situation. he said that the president is monitoring this situation quite closely. when we asked him what the president's reaction was, he
said it was too early to really answer that but here's a little bit of what he did say about the president watching the developments unfold. take a listen. >> i think it's important on a day like today to view this as i know the president as a father does and i as a father and other who is are parents certainly do which is to feel enormous sympathy for family that is are affected. >> reporter: carney was asked if the events in connecticut reignite president obama's efforts to try to get stiffer gun control enacted and carney essentially said that today is not the day for that discussion. he said today is a tragedy and that this administration, this president right now, focusing on the victims in connecticut. focusing on what the federal government can do to aid the state and local officials there
working so diligently with that community right now. president obama notified 10:30 this morning by the national security adviser john brennan. he's been getting updates throughout the day. craig, it is customary when something this tragic or devastating occurs for president obama to address and the nation and today the white house saying it's likely he'll do that again. >> quick question. what's the president said about gun control? what's president obama's position on gun control? >> reporter: well, he supports a ban on assault rifles. and carney specifically asked about that, as well, today. he said the president still supports that ban. you might remember over the summer president obama talked about the importance of stiffer gun control after that tragic shooting in aurora, colorado. he said there are just some common sense measures that can be put in place to try to prevent weapons from getting in the hands of people who should
not have them. since then, very little has been done from this administration, from congress, quite frankly, to do anything to enact stiffer gun control, so he's made some strong statements and in terms of what we might see in the second administration. that remains to be seen but the administration saying that today's really a day to focus on the victims in connecticut and not policy. >> kristen welker, thank you again. we can expect to hear from president obama some point this afternoon. we are looking, this is a live look at newtown, connecticut. sandy hook, elementary. we are told that the scene is secure. that the gunman, the man who's thought to be responsible for the death of 18 children and at least 8 adults, the gunman dead inside that school. we are starting to hear stories from inside the school and starting to hear from a number of parents, even some students who were inside when all of this went down. here's reaction now from the
brother of one of those students. take a listen. >> with me right now is bargeem baru. you were there. talk about what you saw. >> well, i mean, the first thing i saw was three injured children. all three of them female and one of them had -- was very bloody. had a very bloody face and two others carried out by a state trooper. they were not moving and they looked -- i thought it was my sister at first so there's not a lot of security and got near to get a closer look and unfortunately it was -- they looked very pale, very injured, very -- it was bad. >> now, you went there to actually rescue your sister. right? what did your sister tell you about the situation? >> well, i mean, again, she was very frightened when she came out. she was crying. all the other students were crying and the thing she told me was that it really started when she heard gunshots. she heard scream screams on the
intercom. there were screams. and, you know, the school went on lockdown and based on what she said, she was in art class and hiding in a tiny closet bundled up and hearing screams and horrible. >> earlier, you told me you find the situation to be disgusting, that anyone would do anything like this. >> it is. it's sickening. you know, horrible that some people, you know, think that they can do this stuff and unfortunately it's a growing trend here. you know, in the united states. and it's just horrible. >> and again, you also told me that state police actually told your sister and her class to close their eyes. describe that scene to me. >> correct. when they were leaving the schools, the school has really one big hallway. shaped like a square and leaving the school, the state troopers and, you know, the fbi or whoever was there, they were telling all the children to hold hands and close their eyes until they were outside so, i mean, it was what they -- what was in there must have been very gruesome and my sister said
she -- what she saw was just police everywhere with -- police with guns and every corner. >> all right. back live here. let's listen to our nbc affiliate here, wnbc with some new information regarding the relationship between the gunman and that school. let's listen in. >> opening fire with at least two handguns and there's questions about whether it's some sort of rifle or other weapon and that one law enforcement official saying his mom worked as a teacher in that school. >> jonathan, did your source know whether there were any survivors from that kindergarten classroom? >> don't know. don't know but the source said that that's where most of the victims were. in that bun classroom. >> i'm going to triple clarify here. we know that there's a body at a location in hoboken. >> we believe there is. >> you believe there's body. >> in other words, the information we are hearing and i think pete williams was reporting this with the associated press that his parents are dead. >> right. >> and so that, you know, maybe
it's his dad in new jersey. >> right. >> and the mom. you know? i don't know who, you know, in terms of specifics. all i know is there's a scene in hoboken, new jersey, now where they're searching the house where the suspect is from. believed to be ryan lanaza and that he went up to where his mom worked in newtown as a kindergarten teacher. >> did you have a name just now? >> from three sources is ryan l lanza. the records match. i think the age of the producer told me was 23. so, you know, we're out. we have crews on the way. mark santea and thompson heading to new jersey to the suspect's home. where we'll learn more so again this is all from one law
enforcement source. it is a very good source but i just want to -- >> all right. we were listening there, again, to the chief investigative reporter with wnbc. the suspect's name at this point we can go ahead and tell you, ryan lanza. he is 24 years old. again, according to jonathan deantz there, a body was found in hoboken, new jersey. that body at this point, it appears as if, it appears as if it would be the body of his father in new jersey. his mother was a teacher at the school. sandy hook elementary school and that this point it appears as if he focused on one classroom in that school. we do not -- we do not know whether it was his mother's classroom but we do know that his mom, according to wnbc, his mom a teacher at newtown
elementary school. the body of his father found earlier at a home in hoboken, new jersey. authorities are searching that house we are told. at this point, according to our justice correspondent pete williams, we know that he was wearing all black when he walked in to that elementary school. two guns were found. one of them, a .9 millimeter handgun. we're working the find out what type, how much ammunition, how he came about the guns, as well. all questions to be answered over the next few hours and days. but again, at this point, his name is ryan lanza. he is 24 years old. he is the person who is found dead inside the sandy hook elementary school, as well. also, the person who killed 26. 18 children, 8 adults. maybe nine. but at this point, the death toll is at 26. it is the second worst school shooting in american history.
we continue to gather information. our richard lui is following the nuts and bolls of this. what can you tell us? >> you know, we look at this here, craig, the reaction is hour five since the first reports of this tragedy coming out of newtown, connecticut. i want to share what some of the concerns and some of the thoughts that have come out. democratic leader nancy pelosi issued this about 20 minutes ago. she says, quote, no words can console the parents of the children murdered at sandy hook elementary school or describe the pain and shock of an unspeakable tragedy. no words can comfort the loved ones of those brutally taken from us today. all americans share our prayers and our grief over the horrifying events. again, that's democratic leader nancy pelosi. also, a statement from governor on connecticut saying with a heavy heart and deepest of
sympathies i learned today of the shooting of connecticut. my thoughts and prayers to the families of those impacted by the events transpiring today and teachers, emergency responders and all others touched by the tragedy, unfortunately virginia has our own painful memories of the tragic shootings at virginia tech in 2007. and then finally, for you here, craig, this reaction coming from senator lieberman about 30 minutes ago. and this is coming from his spokesperson. saying, quote, senator lieberman and his staff are closely monitoring the situation in newtown, connecticut. the senators and prayers go out to those affected by the tragedy today. what's important now is to give it the first responders and local authorities support as it changes and keep the community safe. just five hours in right now, craig. still getting information. >> all right. reaction of capitol hill for us, thank you so much. do appreciate that.
clint van zant is standing by, former fbi profiler and a nbc news contributor. clint, you have heard the information as it's trickled out here. over the past few minutes, over the past few hours. based on what you have heard so far, what can we make of the gunman? >> well, as a fbi agent, i was involved in a situation once where an individual killed his mother and father and went in to a bank and started killing people and we finally had to kill him. and what we find -- you know, the worst possible crime, not withstanding the killing of innocent children is an individual to kill a mother or father. when you have that, that person is then so emotionally wrought that he or she is capable of just infinite crimes and infinite evil. and i think we have seen the combination of that today.
the most evil crimes we could think of, killing your own parents and killing innocent children and teachers, all came together at this terrible day. >> for folk who is are just joining us here at 2:30 on the east coast, we want to update you. 9:30 this morning, in newtown, connecticut, 911 calls started coming in. law enforcement responded. when they got there, the first order of business to search sandy hook elementary school. they searched the school. they got out as many of the kids as they could. they got as many of the teachers as they could. that emergency call made, again, about 9:30 this morning. shortly thereafter, word started trickling out that there were some deaths. at this point, 26. there were 26 dead. 18 of the dead are children. eight or nine are adults. that school, by the way, roughly 600 students there. k-4. the ages, anywhere between 5 years old and 10 years old.
and about an hour we're told of another news conference. connecticut's governor expected to hold a news conference. we heard of state police 45 minutes ago. they didn't give a great deal of information telling us that the priority to the families of the children that died there and trying to make sure they get as much information as possible. the shooter dead inside the school. at this point, according to law enforcement, it appears as if he acted alone and told his name is ryan lanza, 24 years old. we are also told some time before his father found dead in hoboken, new jersey. the school, sandy hook elementary school, that school is where his mother is a schoolteacher. we're also told that lanza focused most of his gun fire on one classroom. we do not know whether that was the classroom of his mother. but again, father found dead in
hoboken. law enforcement executing a number of search warrants but we do know that his mother was a teacher at newtown -- sandy hook elementary in newtown. ryan lanza, 24 years old. now officials saying that the gunman's mother, a teacher at the connecticut school found dead at the school. this information just coming in to nbc news. law enforcement -- this is according to pete williams, justice correspondent, now confirming that the gunman's mother was found dead at the school. earlier law enforcement accounts, earlier law enforcement accounts that a parent was found shot at home apparently not correct at this point. according to our justice correspondent, pete williams, earlier law enforcement accounts said a parent of the shooter was found shot at home. that apparently not correct. i believe we have some sound now from connecticut's governor. let's take a listen. >> the governor is horrified by what's happened. he is meeting with the families
right now. his chief concern is to get the families, the information they need as quickly as possible. >> all right. again, you are looking at the scene above. sanity hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. we're told it's secure and that the public is safe. but there are a host of questions that we suspect we'll get answered at some point over the next few hours. clint, there were indications that he was wearing all black. we've confirmed, in fact, that the shooter was wearing all black. he had at least two guns with him. what else can you tell us based on what you're telling us about the shooter? clint van zandt, are you there? >> yes, i am. we have two pistols. earlier reported .9 millimeter semiautomatic pistols, a glock and an sig sauer. they're the most popular
weapons. law enforcement, local police, fbi, people who like to be around guns, they're easily available and most of the weapons have at least a 15-round magazine and one in the chamber so realize that the individual with two handguns had at at least a 30-round capability and we have heard reports of 50, 60 rounds or more that were fired that would suggest this man may well and likely would have had to have reloaded perhaps multiple times as he continued to shoot the innocent life that ran before him and then it's overwhelming to think that someone could have that capability. number one, to shoot anybody. but number two, to harm a child, this 24-year-old, we can only imagine how twisted, how turned and how dark his mind must have been to allow him to do what he did today.
>> clint, do stand by for us. i want to come back to you and recap for the viewers just joining us. a short time ago we learned the gunman's name. ryan lanza, 24 years old, we're told. law enforcement confirming a short time ago the gunman's mother is a teacher at sandy hook elementary school. that is the school where it went down. that's the school you are looking at right now. we're also told that the gunman's mother was found dead at the school. justice correspondent pete williams standing by for us now. pete, a parent was found shot at home, am i understand to the accounts not correct? >> i believe that's the best assessment that we have at this point. that was the initial word that we'd gotten from a couple of law enforcement officials but it is not unusual in a situation with information coming in so fast there are these miscues and that's apparently one of them. the best information we have is as you just said that the gunman
entered the school before 9:30 this morning, went first to the principal's office. fired a number of shots there and then went to the classroom taught by his mother and focused the brunt of his firepower there with apparently devastating effect, with 18 children killed. eight adults. potentially nine if you count him. adults killed so it's either 26 or 27 fatal shooting victims, the worst school shooting in recent u.s. history. the other question is whether it was just one person or two. the best information as of this hour is that it's just one. there was a second person taken in to custody for questioning but we have seen no indication that the person was involved in the shooting. just happened to be there coincidentally and the authorities were questioning that person to see what additional information that he could provide about the shooting. what the movements were of ryan lanza before the shooting, we don't know precisely when we
acquired the guns. i'm sure we'll know that shortly but that's the detail to work out now. >> all right. justice correspondent pete williams there for us in d.c. do want to ask you just a couple of questions. what's happening at that house in hoboken, new jersey, right now? what can you tell us? >> any address that he's been connected with, police are searching. this is a standard thing to do in one of these situations. as soon as you find out the identity of the person, you immediately get search warrants to search their car, their house to see what additional information you can learn about the motive for the shooting, whether other people were involved. it's important investigative work and going on right now. >> pete, did the gunman take his own life? >> we don't know the answer to that question yet. >> all right. justice correspondent pete williams, thanks so much. we know you continue to gather information. we'll let you go. once you have some new information, come back. thank you, sir. again, ryan lanza, 24 years old. pete just confirming that the
classroom where most of the shooting happened, he went to the principal's office first we're told. fired off some rounds there. went to his mother's classroom. his mother among the dead. one of the eight or nine adults who is dead at sandy hook elementary school. also just getting a note now. we're told that lanza lives in new jersey. went to the connecticut school where his mom was a teacher. that is the connection at this point. one point he went to the school and his mom -- where his mom was a teacher. michelle franzen just arrived at the scene. what can you tell us what about's happening on the ground there right now? >> hi, craig. we have been moved about two miles away where the briefing was held in the past hour. so we're about two miles away from the elementary school. and what we learned at that press briefing was that governor malloy is meeting with those families at this hour, comforting them. trying to prepare them for
what's ahead and also investigators still back on the scene, obviously, they'll have a very dire situation to deal with in the next few hours as they enter that school, as they pour over the crime scene. we have also, also heard that they're executing several search warrants in this area. what police haven't confirmed but we're hearing from other areas at this briefing was the death toll. we're hering that the governor wanted to make sure he was with the families first. that they wanted to make sure that they have those numbers firmed up on their end and that is their priority. meeting with families here. we mentioned this town, newtown, connecticut. it is a very small new england community about 26,000, 27,000 people. there's a small main street as you drive through up the hill is where that elementary school sits. we're hearing how the community now is also coming together. short time ago, we have heard that they have already held a prayer vigil at a nearby church
and of course in the coming days hearing more of that support system going on. not only for the family that is are now coping with inevitably the losses to hear more about but also the other students to go through this experience today. and the parents who rushed to their aid, rushing to come find their children today. we have had a producer on the scene earlier and just commented on how the parents were just rushing up to that hill after getting word of the shooting. >> michelle, i want you to -- i want you to stand by here and listen in to our nbc news special coverage here. let's listen in. take a listen, folks. >> from this newtown school, went up to the school this morning, opened fire. unclear why he decided to target his mom and her class and those young children. what made him snap. what made him do this. the fbi and state police and hoboken police are out at his home searching that apartment
now. meanwhile, up at the crime scene, a massive crime scene and search where he is dead along with seven other adults and at least 18 children. along with three others taken to the danbury hospital. children or adults. but just a tragic situation. a lone gunman. some reporting earlier of a second man in a van nearby. we are told that person was picked up for questioning. unclear if he has any connection to this but amid the chaos of the scene and the massive response, police, fbi, atf all doing all they can to try to get to the bottom of what they can and said earlier appears to be the work of a lone gunman. son of a woman who worked as a kindergarten teacher and that he went and opened fire in the principal's office and then the classroom and inside that room of kindergartners where the
casualties took place. >> kindergartners. >> and the image is not -- it's heart breaking. i live up near that area. i mean, this is a suburban community where parents move to get good schools and great -- you know, little grass for their kids and get a good education. and they -- you know, just saw the images of the parents rushing to learn what happened. >> imagine getting that call. >> and they're running to this section where parents are being reunited with their children and some of the parents according to witness who is are giving accounts to some reporters up there is standing saying where's my child? that is how they've got the first indications that something terrible happened and that's why it took so long as the state police went room to room and talking about checking every crevice as the panic, you know, we heard some stories of a gym teacher that huddled all their kids in the corner to try to
protect them and shield them as they heard the shots ringing out inside that school and these are sort of the tale that is we are hearing, unspeakable. that little children would be gunned down in their classroom by a crazed gunman armed to the teeth. he was dressed all in black, lester. we are told maybe perhaps a green military type vest with pockets perhaps for extra ammo. >> how did he die? >> that's i'm waiting to hear back. a self-inflikted gunshot wound or police responded and took him out. unclear. that part of the investigation continues but the two weapons were found near him. so -- >> but you have cleared up one of the issues in terms of new jersey connection. new jersey was where he currently lived. >> hoboken, new jersey, the address and the fbi and state police in hoboken police there assisting connecticut authorities in this investigation. originally there was confusion reports that his parents or a parent killed and the belief was that crime scene in new jersey
was a result of that but then it was cleared up that, no, the mom was a teacher up in newtown and that is why he went up there and targeted that school. he, the suspect, lived in hoboken, new jersey. the mom worked as a teacher in that school, kindergarten. >> it is -- i don't know. i don't think we have any words for it. jonathan, thank you. let's go to chris hansen now on the phone with us making the way up to the scene. chris? >> hi, lester. how are you? >> good. yeah, chris, you're on the air now. are you at the scene now? >> i'm not at the scene, lester. i pulled over to speak with you for a little bit here. i can tell you -- i don't want to repeat what colleague jonathan said but obviously we now know that the suspect is ryan lanza, 20 years old. teacher at the school. sources are telling me that lanza had besides the military style outfit.
three guns, a long assault type rifle and two pistols. in terms of the crime, it appears that so far and coming from two different sources and fluid investigation that a lot of the 18 children might have been in the very same classroom. and that it was a classroom that, you know, his mother worked at when they started tracing the addresses back that's when authorities found his mother dead earlier today so they're still processing that crime scene. they're still obviously a lot to do at the school and figure out why 20-year-old ryan lanza would out in such a god awful way. >> let's go back to pete williams. pete, it was interesting that in that news conference, maybe an hour and a half ago, they did not deal with casualty figures although it's been widely reported from sources that 26 dead. is it a process where right now
-- >> we've been listening to nbc news special coverage. michelle franzen standing by on the scene for us. standing by right now for us. michelle, i assume that you heard from jonathan there and you also -- kristen welker i'm standing by. what do you have? >> reporter: craig, i can tell you, there's increased activity here in the briefing room. that is because we are just learning that president obama will speak at 3:15. so really in just a few minutes from now. about this tragedy unfolded in connecticut. of course, it is customary for president obama to come out to address the nation when this type of horrific event happens and what will happen today. president obama will come here president obama was initially told about this shooting at 10:30 this morning. alerted by his national security
adviser john brennan. he is updated throughout day. he also made phone calls to fbi director mueller as well as the governor of connecticut malloy to offer his sympathy, to offer his come docondolences. jay carney was asked about reigniting the efforts of stiffer gun controls law. he said today is not the day to talk about policy. it is a day to focus on the victims and those obviously suffering so much in connecticut. so again, we expect president obama to arrive here in the brady press briefing room and address and respond to and react to the tragic event that is have unfolded in connecticut. craig? >> all right. kristen welker from the white house, stand by for me. want to come back to you in a second. but the news, of course, president obama expected to address the nation at 3:15. 26 are dead. 18 of them are children between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.
at sandy hook elementary school. that is school about 600 students. kinder garden through fourth great. we heard of jonathan deantz based on law enforcement's initial assessment, it appears as if 24-year-old ryan lanza 9:30 walked in to the school, started in the principal's office, fired off some rounds there and made the way to his mother's kindergarten classroom. her kindergarten classroom and opened fire and quh the shooting stopped by the time it stopped, some 18 children lie dead. i don't have any children. but i do live about 15 minutes from the school. and this is -- this is a tough one. this is a very difficult story for a lot of folks in this building. one of our directors has a child
who goes do this school and before we came on the air, he was rushing to that elementary school. his child was okay. but a lot of parents, a lot of kids in newtown, connecticut, are not okay. and will not be okay perhaps for the rest of their lives. it is, again, at this point very early in the investigation. we do not know precisely how the gunman got in to the school. we do know based on a number of initial reports he was wearing a vest. he was wearing all black. he had at least two, possibly three weapons. there were pockets. there were pockets inside the vest perhaps for additional ammunition. we're also starting to hear, we heard a few moments ago and starting to hear some amazing stories of survival. the gym teacher that managed to huddle student it is protect them. also hearing from survivors, as well. in fact, here's some sound. take a listen. >> i am here with erin and her
son 8-year-old bear. a third grader. he was right there as it unfolded. i really wanted to talk to you. you experienced a lot today. tell me what happened, where you were when you heard all this happen. >> well, i was coming -- i was going back to my classroom, then i heard something like a person was kicking on the door. then i turned around and i saw smoke and i smelled smoke. then bullets whizzed by. then -- no. teacher pulled me in to her room. >> bullets whizzing by. did you see where those bullets were coming from? did you see the shooter? >> well, they were coming from the right and going to the left. >> and take me through how many gunshots would you say you heard as you were in this hallway while walking with an assistant?
>> well, i think it was something like ten. >> about ten bullets. and your teacher pulled in to the classroom, got you to safety. what was it like? what were the students and teachers saying? what was the scene there? >> well, when i was out in the hall when -- like, everybody heard the bullets -- >> yeah. they, like, went in to a total panic. >> and how were you doing? >> again, the third grader who was inside sandy hook elementary school this morning shortly after 9:30 when all of this went down. pete williams, our justice correspondent, standing by. down in d.c. with the latest on the investigation. pete, what do you have? >> craig, well, we have now been told we were -- there's been a sort of confusing bit of information about a potential shooting away from the school. and we've now been told by a
couple of sources that another family member of ryan lanza, the shooting -- the gunman here, another family member was found shot to death at the family member's home in newtown, connecticut. now, i don't know what the relationship was. what the relative -- whether it was a parent or a sibling or what of ryan lanza but the second person, because i say second, because authorities tell us that he shot his mother who taught at the school. but that apparently a second family member has been found sot to death at the family member's home in newtown. now, initially there were some reports as i say it happened in new jersey. how we are told it was in newtown, connecticut. but we don't know what the relationship was and we don't know, of course, the time frame. obviously, this happened before the school shooting but authorities are not saying at this point who shot this person, although they strongly suspect that it was the same person who
committed these school shootings but that appears to be the totality of it here now. it's just been -- taken a while to get the hands around this rapidly developing information. so the numbers, apparently will be the 18 children at the school. eight or nine adults, still isn't clear to us whether the shooter is concluded in the eight or not and then another victim off campus at the family member -- the family member of ryan lanza at that person's home in newtown, connecticut. >> pete, not to further complicate this thing, what's happening in hoboken, new jersey, right now? what's the connection to that home? >> there's an address associated with ryan lanza. i'm not sure what the association is but there are searches going on at any addresses he has any connection with. >> okay. >> so that's the action in hoboken but, you know, the
initial report that someone was shot there, as far as we know, that information isn't correct. >> pete williams, justice correspondent with the latest on the investigation, pete, thank you so much. the news there. that the death toll at this point has risen. the death toll is up by one. again, there are three people still in the hospital. we do not know whether those are three adults, whether they're three children. we know at least three people in the hospital right now. we are expecting to hear from president obama at 3:15. he is going to address this tragedy. we also just found out a short time house speaker john boehner ordered the flags on capitol hill at half staff to honor the victims and you can see there the flag not at half staff but some point here that flag and all of the others on federal buildings in the nation's capital lowered to half staff. dr. ian smith joining me now on the phone. dr. smith, i understand that you
are from newtown, connecticut. for folks not familiar with that small town, what can you tell us about it? >> i'm from danbury, connecticut, right next to newtown. you know, the reason people are so shocked by this is this particular area in fairfield county is such a bucolic and rural and peaceful area. it's one of the places where people in new york city particularly want the move to because great school systems, lots of grass. in fact, my wife commented seeing the video how big the school was for just 600 elementary school kids. sandy hook is a small village which is part of newtown. it's a place that for when i grew up there didn't have a movie theater. it's that kind of a place. it's a very quiet bedroom community. very close-knit community. not a lot of activities. because it is so far in to a rural area. but, you know, when i heard on the radio that this happened in
newtown, connecticut, i was shocked because not that it can't happen anywhere but these things don't happen in this kind of an environment. you know, my town, danbury, my hometown, they were on lockdown. there's places like new fairfield and new milford, my mother lives in oxford ten minutes from the school and imagine a state that's not accustomed to type of disaster is really up in arms over and just fear. i mean, i'm a father of two boys. and the first thing i thought of was, i can't imagine a parent going up to school, particularly in this area, finding out your child is dead so my heart and words go out to the parents. >> dr. ian smith, thank you so much for joining us from danbury, connecticut, right next door to where all of this went down. aaron boyd joining me now, with patch.com for folks not familiar with it, it's a hyper local website and i understand you
also have a connection to the area. where are you right now? >> right at this moment i'm at a park in newtown. it's maybe a quarter of a mile from the school right around the corner where all the press are gathering for a second press conference coming up. >> what can you tell us about when's happening on the ground right now? what are you seeing? >> sure. down at the school, things are starting to calm a bit. they're -- the police are starting to move people away and trying to clear the scene some. earlier today, it was a lot of panic, a lot of parents coming in just trying to get to the school, parking wherever they could. just trying to find out some information about their children and what was going on. >> aaron, we know at this point that connecticut governor dan malloy and meeting with these families. do you know whether all of the children are accounted for at this point? >> the children, locked down the schools immediately after it happened. i don't have an official word on whether they have a head count
but i would be confident they went through the procedure. the students i know were escorted from the school once everything was settled by class. in order to account for everyone. so i can't speak officially on the record to that but i would say that those considerations are being made. >> how's newtown, the psyche, the people there, how are they holding up? >> the people are in shock. i have talked to parents, parents that have kids in higher grade levels, everyone is just horrified and shocked and trying to comprehend how something like this could happen. >> aaron boyd, patch.com on the ground there in newtown, thank you so much. as we approach the top of the hour, we want to go ahead and update the viewers just joining us. president obama expected to address the country. at 3:15.